Rage against the machine: ‘Progressive’ Dems slam Bklyn boss for stopping vote on Squadron replacement

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Democracy now!: Councilman Antonio Reynoso leads a group of reformers from New Kings Democrats on Sept. 18, protesting the selection process for the 26th Senatorial District.

Peaceful breakfast: Brooklyn Democratic Party spokesman George Arzt munches on his breakfast as reformers protest outside.

Some Brooklyn Democrats blasted Kings County’s Democratic Party’s chairman at the group’s fifth-annual post-primary breakfast at Junior’s Restaurant Downtown on Sept. 18, after he negotiated what they called a back-room deal to support one candidate to succeed a Brooklyn Heights state senator, instead of allowing members to vote on a nominee.

Members of New Kings Democrats and other self-proclaimed “progressive” clubs say party boss Frank Seddio alone decided who would replace Daniel Squadron in the state Senate when he didn’t give Brooklyn committee members a say and put his weight behind machine favorite Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh (D–Manhattan).

“We’re tired of individuals thinking they can make decisions on behalf of all of Brooklyn,” said Councilman Antonio Reynoso (D–Williamsbu­rg) of New Kings Democrats. “Today, Seddio and the county decided unilaterally to choose and appoint the next elected official of the 26th Senatorial District, and that is unacceptab­le.”

Squadron resigned from Albany’s upper house in August after an important petition-filing deadline for would-be candidates, eliminating the ability for the Brooklyn and Manhattan residents of his district elect a successor. Naming the legislator’s next-in-line instead fell to both boroughs’ county committees and, due to complicated and arcane election laws, the decision basically rested with Seddio and Manhattan Chairman Keith Wright.

On Sunday, about 100 Manhattan committee members voted overwhelmingly to back Paul Newell — a district leader from Manhattan who is considered a reformer among progressive groups in both boroughs — over Kavanagh.

Wright in turn split his vote, instead of consolidating it behind one candidate, and Seddio didn’t even give his committee’s members a say, putting Brooklyn behind Kavanagh.

The autonomous move was a departure from the idea to install a placeholder nominee that Seddio previously floated, and riled reformers who said it is pathetic that one man is still making decisions for the entire borough long after the corrupt days of late Democratic boss Vito Lopez.

“How is it that Manhattan is going to be allowed to move through a county committee process and Brooklyn is not? It’s glaringly disrespectful and an embarrassm­ent,” said Reynoso. “All these mistakes continue to happen and it’s because people are not allowed to be part of a process.”

The Brooklyn boss sent out a press release on Sept. 17 that announced Kings County Democrats endorsed Kavanagh, who party bigwigs including Mayor DeBlasio and Gov. Cuomo also backed. But that statement could not be further from the truth considering no vote was held and that Seddio didn’t even return New Kings Democrats’ requests to discuss any of the potential seat-fillers, according to the president of the more than 400-member club, which endorsed Newell.

“For the Brooklyn Democratic Party to be respected, they need to be as democratic — as inclusive and participatory — as possible,” said Anusha Venkataraman. “There could have been a vote in the name of democracy and giving Brooklyn residents a chance to say who we think is the best person to be the next senator.”

But the party chairman maintains he is innocent, claiming he simply followed rules that were written way before he rose to power.

“The process I didn’t create, it’s been around for 50 years,” he said. “I followed the rules.”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 5:55 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

SCR from Realityville says:
What we actually need,is one rather major voter's reform!! We need open-primaries,on local levels. Why should the millions of NY'ers,such as I,NOT be permitted to select,the Election Day candidates;just because,we have chosen NOT to be registered Democrats or registered Republicans? And after,sensible activist achieve this needed reform on state,city,town,village levels,etc-they should push for national-wide primary reforms. Right now,only six U.S. states,have open-primaries.
Sept. 19, 2017, 12:24 pm
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
why was Squadron in such a rush to abandon his post that he undermined his supposed principles? There has to be more to this story...
Sept. 19, 2017, 2:01 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Awww, the poor socialists are finally realizing that they have been played by the corrupt Tammany Hall wannabes known as Democrats. Better occupy a park so you can get tear gassed again by your overlords, comrades.
Sept. 19, 2017, 2:44 pm
Bob Scott from Brooklyn Bridge Park says:
Squadron betrayed his voters by refusing to allow them to pick his successor. (Don't be sidetracked by talk about how the "machine" screwed the voters; SQUADRON SCREWED THE VOTERS — the machine only followed traditional protocol.) Squadron's only concern has been for his own interests, so don't expect an honest "reform" agenda from his new think tank. Like deBlaz and the Schemer Company, Progressives progress only their own interests and vanity.
Sept. 19, 2017, 4:41 pm
William from Bushwick says:
smarts. not rage
Sept. 19, 2017, 10:06 pm
Matt from Greenpoint says:
I'm starting to think "Morris from Mill Basin" is just a pseudonym.
Sept. 19, 2017, 11:20 pm
Joe from Greenpoint says:
NYC is the second most corrupt democrat stronghold after Chicago.
Sept. 19, 2017, 11:21 pm

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